For the majority of people, having a baby puts a definite squeeze on finances. Between the immediate needs (clothing, crib, stroller, change table) to future (college!) anyone’s banking situation can start looking a little grim. Add to that the fact that baby needs to be changed between 5000-7000 times before they are potty trained, and it can put new parents in a very difficult situation.
For many parents, cloth diapers can be a great alternative to disposables to help save money during this time. With modern advances in cloth diapers, they are no longer bulky, cumbersome sheets of fabric that require pins, rubber pants and a degree in origami to use. They do not create a huge amount of work or laundry for parents, and can save up to $2000 over the first 2 years of baby’s life!
Cloth diapers also have the added benefit of being able to be used for multiple children. If you are having more than one, you can use them on your second (and third!) children. If not, you can sell them when your baby is potty trained!
My child is going to daycare. Will they allow cloth diapers?
Many daycares happily accept cloth diapers! It is a good idea to contact your daycare to make sure they do and if they have any requirements for you. Generally, daycares require enough cloth diapers for a day, plus a wet bag to send dirty diapers home in.
There are ways to make cloth diapering more daycare friendly, such as sending easy to use diapers (look for pocket diapers or all-in-ones) and adding a roll of disposable liners so poops can be easily flushed away. If your daycare provider is hesitant, find out their reasons and have a discussion on how to get past those reasons. Show them the product, teaching them how to use them. Sometimes daycare centers do not understand how easy cloth diapering is today.
If your daycare still refuses to use cloth, it can still help to cloth diaper part-time at home and save your disposables for daycare.
Will the laundry cost me a lot more?
No, the increase in laundry costs is very small compared to the cost of buying disposables. Diapers don’t require a specialized detergent, so you can use whatever you use on your clothes. However, if you suffer from sensitive skin or don't like a lot of chemical in your detergent, Nellies is a great alternative.
There are also ways to minimize the laundry costs, for example, air drying your diapers instead of using the dryer or adding other clothing items to your diaper load to decrease the number of loads you need to do.
I don’t have a washing machine at home. Can I still cloth diaper?
Yes, you can. Many laundromats don’t have rules regarding cloth diapers, but it is always a good idea to check.
It is also possible to wash your diapers at home in a bathtub! It may sound like a total hippie thing to do, but it is a total money saver. Flat sheets (like the one’s Grandma used) are the easiest for doing this, but other styles of diapers will work as well. Do a quick search on YouTube, and you will find tons of resources for how to quickly and easily hand wash your diapers. It may be more work, but it is a way to put clean diapers on baby’s bum.
Do you have any hints for buying cloth diapers on the cheap?
I sure do.
- Cloth diaper store like Bumbini have sales periodically (think Black Friday, Boxing Day) and you can usually find some good deals.
- Join some cloth diaper groups on Facebook. There are often giveaways, so you can actually win some of your diapers.
- Buy used. There are lots of local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook, and it is possible to get some excellent deals. At Bumbini we often have used retired diapers from our diaper rentals - just contact us as they go quickly and we don't have time to post them.
- At Bumbini we cloth diapers to meet every budget.
- We offer cheap shipping options and free delivery, as well as free pick up, so that you then pick up one or two diapers each paycheque. In a few months, you will have a full stash.
Should I buy used cloth diapers?
Buying used can definitely be a good option! There are lots of local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook, and it is possible to find good deals. As with buying anything else used, it is buyer beware though, so do your research to make sure the deal isn’t too good to be true. A lot of the major brands (AppleCheeks, Bummis etc.) are really durable and can be used and reused for multiple kids. If you are crafty, you can buy some “fixer upper” diapers and make them useable by replacing elastics, sunning out stains, etc. As well, some diaper stores have rental kits that are periodically retired and they sell these gently used kits at a very affordable price.
Its perfectly fine to buy used diapers, but with a good wash and a bleach alternative soak (Nellies or RLR), they are as good as new. If you have stubborn stains - try Buncha Farmer or you can try sunning them out.
What if I can’t afford to buy cloth diapers?
There are lots of local resources to help parents get started here in the Ottawa area, starting here with Bare Bottoms! At Bumbini, we collect cloth diapers and pass them on to the Diaper One and Ottawa Cloth Diaper Lending Service. They put together kits for new parents with everything you need and help parents along the way. Both organizations are very supportive in helping parents in tough situations. That is why Bumbini is a proud supporter of these organizations.
I’m interested in starting, but have no idea where to start!
The choices out there are mind-boggling! I suggest you check out a local cloth diaper workshop. Bumbini Cloth Diaper Company holds workshops in the Ottawa area on a regular basis, and also have an online version if you can’t make it to one in person. These workshops show you the basics and will help you succeed with cloth diapering.
Most importantly just by converting to cloth diapers, you are adopting sustainability and cutting down on diapers going to landfills. Check out our blog on Earth Day- Changing Our Habits One Step at a Time.